You might’ve seen our recent post about how you can make planning for 2019 a little (actually, a lot) less scary. But this time of year also highlights other initiatives that you might feel compelled to engage in, as well. If conducting a brand audit is one of these things on your radar, you might not be sure where to start.

In fact, there are about as many ways to handle a brand audit as there are types of fish in the sea. There isn’t one singular way that works best, but there are core components you need to cover in order to get the results you want.

Here are four we recommend zeroing in on.

1. Measurement: Start with the end in mind.

Don’t just initiate a brand audit because it sounds like fun or because So-and-So Influencer told you it’s a good idea. You’ve got to have a reason (or several reasons) why your company needs one, and have a goal outcome in mind for the audit. If you don’t have this at the get-go, the entire process isn’t worth your time.

So, what are some possible goals for a brand audit? Here are a few:

  • To determine your company’s position in the market, compared to competitors

  • To assess your progress toward revenue, customer, product or other goals

  • To evaluate the efficacy of your current strategies, so as to decide whether to continue with them or implement something new

You can get more detailed with these, or create a combination of goals, but the point is to know right off the bat what question you’re trying to answer with your brand audit. This will help you achieve that outcome.  

2. Online Presence: Gather data for a complete picture.

You’re just a quick Google search away from finding sample brand audit frameworks, or templates you can use to make sure you follow a logical sequence in this process. Some sections that these frameworks suggest are optional, but your digital presence is not one of them. In order to be a successful company today, no matter your industry, your company’s online footprint must be serving its purpose. And you might’ve guessed that this would be what we’d say next, but the way to determine how your digital presence stacks up is by reviewing the data.

Gather and analyze metrics that actually matter, like:

  • Website traffic and time spent on key pages

  • Engagement with your content (e-book downloads, comments on social media posts, etc.)

  • Conversions (forms filled, downloads, calls, sales, etc)

  • The quantity and quality of reviews you’ve received on the most important review site(s) for your industry

3. Product: Past, present & future.

Whether you have an actual product or are a professional services company, you need to regularly evaluate your market fit as the market naturally evolves. Just because your product was a best seller last year doesn’t mean the same will hold true for the coming year, and just because your health club grew its membership by 80 percent this year doesn’t mean you’ll be able to retain those members or grow it similarly again.

So yes, it’s important to evaluate your offerings in the past, and how they’ve been received. But you also must do market research to find out what’s changed in the current marketplace, which may indicate some necessary progression on your part.

Also, as part of your brand audit, meet with your team to set some aspirations for your offerings in the future. What are your customers asking for more of? What are their biggest complaints? What’s the vision of your product or services you have a year from now, or five years out? This won’t help shape your audit today, but it will help you figure out where you’ve been, where you are right now and where you’re planning to go.

4. Fill in the Gaps: Survey customers and non-customers.

Finally, your brand audit will likely reveal some strengths of yours (maybe your retention strategy is really strong and you have a great digital presence), and it will also reveal some weaknesses (perhaps your marketing collateral isn’t serving its purposes or you’re missing the opportunity to upsell your customer base).

Beyond this, though, it will almost certainly stir up some further questions. You might find that you don’t have enough information to confidently answer the initial question you set out to answer… and that’s okay. If you get to this point, you need to fill in the gaps. Do this by surveying your current customers and also reaching out to people who have expressed interest in the past but maybe never actually became a customer. Ask specific questions, and offer an incentive for filling out the survey. This can help you fill in any blanks or answer any questions you were unable to answer previously.

There are endless roads that will get you to a successful brand audit, but make sure you’re setting your goals ahead of time, placing special emphasis on evaluating your digital presence and product/services – and getting more information if you need it. When your brand audit is complete, you should have a solid understanding of where your business stacks up in the market, your strengths and weaknesses and where you need to go from here to improve.

Contact us if you’d like our help conducting a brand audit, or if you have any further questions.